A word from Maximus the Confessor

I think we are called to continually allow our financial practices to be challenged by the Gospel, and by the wisdom of those who have lived it before us, such as Maximus the Confessor (c.580-662).  Despite Maximus’ counsel below, I am certainly not emptying my savings account, as I think we have a responsibility to prudently care for our households, and not to burden others if we can help it.  Remember Paul in 1 Thessalonians 2 reminding his correspondents how he worked hard so as not to impose upon them.   I don’t know of any way to resolve the tension around how Christians should deal with money.  It seems we must live with the questions, and make the best decisions we can.    Anyhow, here’s a word of challenge from Maximus, from the Centuries:

If we truly love God, we must love our neighbors absolutely.  We cannot hoard our wealth.  Rather, like God himself, we generously give from our own resources to each according to his need.  Since we imitate God’s generosity, the only distinction we can draw is the person’s need.  We do not distinguish between a good person and a bad one, a just person and one who is unjust….  Loving people are known by sincere and long-suffering service to their neighbors.

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2 Responses to “A word from Maximus the Confessor”

  1. Will Says:

    Maximus reminds me of Marx! This very much fits in with the Roman Lectionary’s gospel reading from yesterday about accepting without judging. It is also very pertinent to the social gospel ideal, and can be applied today along with the necessity to change the overall environment of poverty and disadvantage.

    I liked the quote! Here’s a suppliment from William Sloane Coffin:

    “Many of us are eager to respond to injustice, as long as we can do so without having to confront the causes of it. There’s the great pitfall of charity. Handouts to needy individuals are genuine, necessary responses to injustice, but they do not necessarily face the reason for injustice. And that is why so many business and governmental leaders today are promoting charity; it is desperately needed in an economy whose prosperity is based on growing inequality. First these leaders proclaim themselves experts on matters economic, and prove it by taking the most out of the economy! Then they promote charity as if it were the work of the church, finally telling us troubled clergy to shut up and bless the economy as once we blessed the battleships.”

  2. John Says:

    Ah, Bill Coffin! – what a fantastic person. He spent a semester at Vandy when I was there. I remember the way he could look you in the eye with such great kindness, while asking a question that would drill right through you!

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